Updates to red wolf recovery plan delayed until September
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is delaying the publication of the final revised red wolf recovery plan. The report, originally set to be released in late February, intends to provide updates on the status of the endangered species.
Red wolves approached extinction in the 1970s due to human activity and habitat loss. In 1973, the species was officially placed on the endangered species list — the same year in which the Fish and Wildlife Service started a captive breeding program to enable future reintroductions to the wild.
In 1986, the Fish and Wildlife Service designated parts of Dare, Hyde Tyrell, Washington and Beaufort counties as home to an experimental population of red wolves where they slowly reintroduced red wolves that were bred in captivity. That population of wild red wolves has fluctuated over the years, reaching a peak of 120. Today, it's estimated that just 15 are part of the Eastern North Carolina Red Wolf population.
The report seeks to outline a strategy for creating a sustainable red wolf population across its historic habitat range, from New York to Texas. A draft of the report says that gunshots, vehicle strikes, inbreeding and negative public perception are the primary threats to the species. The official copy of the report is now expected to be released in September.